Why Iceland is on so many bucket lists
I am so happy to write about Iceland – one of my very favorite destinations! I’ve been twice and would go back again anytime. The first time we did a self-drive and traveled to the Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon, a little bit south to Vik and back to Reykjavik. The second time was to the north via an expedition cruise that included kayaking and whale watching!
My passion for Iceland shows on my face when I talk about it!
When you first arrive in Iceland, you will notice all the signs in Icelandic. Thank goodness, most are also in English! While very close to Danish and Norwegian, the Icelandic language remains totally unique. Words with far too many consonants abound, and syllables seem to just blur together. Unlike other languages that have changed drastically over the centuries, Icelandic remains very close to its original roots. You’ll have lots of fun trying to pronounce the street names!
Reykjavik is the capital city with the feel of a small town. The nightlife is pretty active and there are multiple bars and restaurants to choose from. The city is relatively small so walking from place to place is easy! During the day, visit Harpa – Reykjavik’s opera house and the Hallgrímskirkja Church for beautiful views and interesting architecture.
Have you heard about the elves and trolls in Iceland? Crazy as it may seem, the majority of Icelanders believe in the existence of these fantastical beings! There are many amusing stories and legends about the Huldufólk, or “hidden people,” and Icelanders go so far as to suspend construction projects if it's believed that the plans may interfere with or endanger current elf habitats. Large fallen rocks in fields or out at sea are said to be frozen trolls, and one guide told me that the smell present in Iceland isn't from sulfur at all – it's the smell of the trolls' dirty bathwater!
Here are 6 great things to do in Iceland (just 6 for this blog – there are so many more):
Whale Watching Tour – There are many tours available that allow you to see whales as well as puffins. You can engage with Naturalists and experience rare sightings that will leave you in awe. It is best to whale watch in the summer months, preferably April through September. Minke whales are the most common in Iceland. Follow the instructions carefully and be safe.
Blue Lagoon Spa – This mineral-rich attraction is minutes from the Keflavik International airport. There are many spa options available due to the geothermic forces and many natural elements. The lagoon is human-made and renewed every two days with fresh water. You can easily access the site via car or bus. Due to the location, a great time to visit is straight from the airport on arrival or on the way back to the airport for your return flight.
West Fjords – Located in a famous peninsula, the Fjords are breathtaking. You need to plan well and leave time to explore all this area has to offer. You can visit a myriad of unique sites, such as the Icelandic Sea Monster Museum or the famous Látrabjarg cliff. There is much to experience in this mountainous, remote area.
Skogafoss – The perfect place for you to get a shot with a double rainbow, Skogafoss, is the most scenic waterfall in Iceland (foss is Icelandic for waterfall). With a drop of over 60 meters, the view is spectacular. There is also a legend of gold that lies within the falls. Take your chance and search if you dare…
Silfra - Silfra is an amazing diving spot located in Thingvellir National Park. It is the crevice between the tectonic plates in North America and Eurasian continents. It is the only place in the world where you can dive between two tectonic plates that shift roughly 2 cm every year. The shifting of the earth creates new caverns and tunnels. There is plenty of wildlife to see on your dive/snorkel. The three main dive sites are; Silfra Hall, Silfra Cathedral, and Silfra Lagoon. The maximum depth is about 207 feet. The water is the purest in the world, and you can feel free to take a sip while diving.
Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) – This site is at the top of many lists. However, you need to know the best possible location to view this wonder. Thingvellir National Park is by far the finest area to see this wonder. Be sure you check the weather so that you have a combination of dark and clear skies. Some tours include the Golden Circle during the day with Northern Lights at night.
Summer or Winter - Iceland is a fabulous destination for everyone - couples, honeymooners, families, friends. Call me and we can start planning your Iceland adventure!
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